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Shares windfall for Brighton posties just "smoke and mirrors", claims union
Hundreds of Royal Mail employees are expected to benefit from free shares.
About 250 Royal Mail employees in Brighton will benefit, after an announcement on Thursday by the Government to float Royal Mail on the London Stock Exchange in the next few weeks.
The free shares offer makes 10 per cent of shares in Royal Mail available to eligible employees, who have not opted out, automatically and for free at the time of flotation.
Moya Greene, chief executive officer for Royal Mail Group, said: “Our people are the heart of our business at Royal Mail. By owning ten per cent of the company, together we will have a meaningful stake in the business.
“I think this will engage everyone and encourage us to continue to work together to build a great future for Royal Mail.”
The free shares will be held in a HM Revenue and Customs-approved Share Incentive Plan (SIP).
Employees will be able to sell their shares or transfer them out of the SIP after three years but will pay income tax and National Insurance (NI) on them.
After five years, employees will not need to pay any income tax or NI if they wish to sell.
However, it seems not all Royal Mail employees are thrilled at the news and are sceptical over the terms and conditions of accepting shares.
Gareth Jones, CWU branch secretary for South Downs, Weald and Rother said: “The shares, although they sound wonderful, they are really not – it’s smoke and mirrors.
“If we accept the shares we have to sign up for three years and it means we will be unable to ballot for industrial action or disagree possible changes in our terms and conditions.
“I have worked for Royal Mail for 15 years and I have got at least another 30 years left. If I sold my soul now for a few shares, I will regret it.
“Nobody knows what they are worth.
“The majority of people are not opposed to owning a share, they are opposed to the offer that it’s linked to.”
It is estimated 150,000 employees throughout the UK will be eligible for free shares in the company.
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